Woody Allen is not staying silent.
The director responded to his estranged, 28-year-old daughter Dylan Farrow's open letter published in the New York Times over the weekend with a piece of his own in the same publication on Friday. In it, he flatly denied allegations that he molested Dylan, now 28, when she was 7 as she claimed in her letter and first said in 1992.
The 78-year-old charged that his ex-girlfriend, Mia Farrow, with whom he was embroiled in a bitter breakup at the time of the alleged molestation, had coached Dylan. "I naively thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn't molested Dylan and any rational person would see the ploy for what it was," he wrote. "Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. Now, suddenly, when I had driven up to her house in Connecticut one afternoon to visit the kids for a few hours, when I would be on my raging adversary's home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I'd go on to marry — that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely. The sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario seemed to me dispositive."
[Related: The Woody Allen Abuse Scandal: How We Got Here]
Later in the letter, the neurotic Woody said, "Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I'd never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, 'With My Daddy in the Attic.' It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia's betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, 'Beware of Young Girls' [Previn]." (Mia was married to Previn, a musician, in 1970, the same year he divorced Dory Previn.)
Woody also quoted the findings of a 1992 investigation into the sexual abuse allegations conducted for the Connecticut State Police, which was triggered by Dylan's visit to a doctor who is legally obligated to report such claims. The Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital found that Dylan had not been abused, although Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth reported Friday that the people who worked that case never spoke with Dylan or Mia.
Woody wrote, "Could it be any clearer? Mr. Allen did not abuse Dylan; most likely a vulnerable, stressed-out 7-year-old was coached by Mia Farrow. This conclusion disappointed a number of people. The district attorney was champing at the bit to prosecute a celebrity case, and Justice Elliott Wilk, the custody judge, wrote a very irresponsible opinion saying when it came to the molestation, 'we will probably never know what occurred.' But we did know because it had been determined and there was no equivocation about the fact that no abuse had taken place."
He noted that the judge in the custody case going on between him and Mia at the time, "was quite rough on me and never approved of my relationship with Soon-Yi, Mia's adopted daughter, who was then in her early 20s. He thought of me as an older man exploiting a much younger woman, which outraged Mia as improper despite the fact she had dated a much older Frank Sinatra when she was 19. In fairness to Justice Wilk, the public felt the same dismay over Soon-Yi and myself, but despite what it looked like our feelings were authentic and we've been happily married for 16 years with two great kids, both adopted. (Incidentally, coming on the heels of the media circus and false accusations, Soon-Yi and I were extra carefully scrutinized by both the adoption agency and adoption courts, and everyone blessed our adoptions.)"
Woody was "heartbroken" after losing his children in the custody case. He's reconnected with Moses, who defended his father in a letter this week, but Ronan has long been estranged. After the accusations, he said, "Moses was angry with me. Ronan I didn't know well because Mia would never let me get close to him from the moment he was born and Dylan, whom I adored and was very close to and about whom Mia called my sister in a rage and said, 'He took my daughter, now I'll take his.' I never saw her again nor was I able to speak with her no matter how hard I tried. I still loved her deeply, and felt guilty that by falling in love with Soon-Yi I had put her in the position of being used as a pawn for revenge. Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness."
The "Blue Jasmine" director noted that Mia gave permission for a clip with her in it to be shown when he was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes last month. And he took Mia to task for her comment last year that Ronan Farrow, born during Mia and Woody's relationship, could "possibly" be her ex-husband Frank Sinatra's son.
"I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation," he wrote. "Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra's? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank's, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank's son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that."
Finally, Woody made it clear that the opinion piece would be the last he has to say publicly on the subject. "Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter's well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way. No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing. (This piece will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party. Enough people have been hurt.)"
In a statement to People on Saturday, Dylan responded: "Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me – but nothing he says or writes can change the truth. For 20 years, I have never wavered in describing what he did to me. I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life. His op-ed is the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years."
- Arts & Entertainment
- Crime & Justice
- Woody Allen
- Mia Farrow
- Frank Sinatra
- Dory Previn
- Ronan Farrow